Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


As you may have heard, last Friday Congress reached a bipartisan deal on the national budget, which President Trump signed. The agreement includes major funding increases for programs that affect children and families. It’s a wise investment that is making headlines.

“There’s still a lot to be worked out, and the deal gives Congress six weeks to hammer out the final details. But congressional leaders have already signaled what they plan to give to certain domestic programs,” according to an Education Week article featured on the website of the Center for Law and Social Policy, a national nonprofit.

The budget doubles funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant — an increase that would allow states to serve 230,000 more children, including 4,780 here in Massachusetts.

According to Education Week, “The bill provides $650 million to provide disaster relief to Head Start centers affected by the 2017 hurricanes that hit Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

NPR reports that, “The deal would fund for five years the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, a program that helps guide low-income, at-risk mothers in parenting. It served about 160,000 families in fiscal year 2016.”

The budget also “provides $3.8 billion for the current fiscal year and $4 billion for 2019 to fund community health centers — up from $3.6 billion last year,” according to the New York Times.

In addition, the Times says, “The bill also includes an additional four-year extension of funds for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, from 2024 through 2027, on top of a six-year extension that Congress approved last month.

“Nearly nine million children are insured by the program, which has had bipartisan support since its creation in 1997.”

The “deal marks the largest increase in discretionary funding for child care in the last 28 years and the culmination of an intensive effort by policymakers and advocates to champion an overdue expansion,” Helen Blank, director of Child Care and Learning at the National Women’s Law Center, said. “If this becomes law, more parents will be able to go to work knowing that their children are in safe and high-quality child care environments they need to succeed.”